Different driving conditions confront us all in the autumn before Winter arrives?

Different driving conditions confront us all in the autumn

I must admit that autumn is one of the times of year that I have grown to love. It is almost magical how the weather changes as autumn approaches. One day we have warm sunshine and

autumn tyre

This washer bottle needs topping up before autumn

then the next day we have gales from the west and heavy rain, this also adds different driving conditions for your car. You know that this is the end of summer and that winter will soon be here.

As a garage owner and keen driver, I also know that we must prepare our cars for autumn and winter to face whatever the weather may throw at us. The first thing that I notice is the glare of the sun, especially in the late afternoon as the day gets darker. The first time this happens it always catches us out. We press the washer button and a tiny squirt of water trickles out, or worst still the last squirt comes out and smudged the entire windscreen.

If only I had checked the washer bottles and put screen wash in I would have not been blinded, driving along with one eye closed trying to see the road ahead, because of the blinding sun bringing Different driving conditions with dirty windscreen

, making driving very difficult. Most of the supermarkets and fuel garages have this stuff on display a month before we need them so the first lesson is to buy some screen wash with added antifreeze and make sure that your water bottles are filled with it. I also keep some in the car boot, because it always runs out when you least expect it to and then you have a reserve supply in the car (not at home).

First Icy Windscreens in autumn bring Different driving conditions.

This is also the time of year when we are most likely to have an ice covered windscreen, when setting of on a dark morning, (not much fun?). This is the where a good old fashioned ice

autumn tyre

Wiper blades need changing to combat sun dazzling

scraper comes into its own. The ones with the handles on are best, and then you won’t freeze your hands and fingers off. Once you have scrapped off the ice you should have a new tin of de-icer handy to clear away the remainder of the frost on the windscreen. Some people use their credit cards for this, but a nice new ice scraper does the job far better and so this is number two on your autumn shopping list, an ice scraper.

Never be tempted to do what some drivers do and pour hot water onto your screen, I know that this is what some people do, and some drivers get away with it, but thousands also shatter their windscreen using this method.

Another good point to remember to help you against low sun dazzle, is to clean the inside of your cars windscreen as well as the outside, the cleaner all the windscreen is the easier it will, be to see against the autumn sun dazzle.

Change your windscreen wipers in autumn

This is also a good point to practice. Have your windscreen wipers changed before the onset of any bad weather and prevent windscreen smudging and poor visibility, you know this makes sense, there is nothing worse than a smudged screen and it can be a very dangerous thing to happen to you. I have had to

Different driving conditions

check your tyres tread depth

stop my car on a number of occasions in the past to clear my car windows, but now I make sure that I am better prepared.

Check your tyres in autumn

It is not rocket science to know that the onset of winter can be a disaster if your tyres are bald and have no tread left. Wet roads covered in leaves can be as dangerous as driving on black ice, so please have your tyres checked and if you do have to buy some, think about fitting winter, they are not much different to the summer tyre price these days and will give a far safer car in the bad winter weather.

Check your light bulbs at least once a week in autumn

I do realize that much of this stuff is common sense to many drivers but how many cars do you see driving along with a light out?. Whilst driving on a local motorway recently there were three cars in row with a light bulb out, this must have added to Different driving conditions . So it is important to check your lights at least once a week, or let your local garage check them for you Some bulbs are now difficult to fit for the DIY motorist, but your local garage will do this for you and if you are a regular customer , then most garages will not charge you. If you have to pay like some of the national companies such as Halfords, and then go to a local garage they will be only too willing to help with any of the checks that I have talked about.

Car batteries can be checked, but in my opinion when they go then they just go, so if you want them testing then fine, have them tested, but they tend to go when you least expect them to, they should last you three years so if your car is older than that you could expect the battery to go at any time, all the other things in this article can be prevented by a little

Different driving conditions

Check your lights and fit new bulbs where required

preparation before the winter arrives in the autumn.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell New Winter Tyres online from our website www.pellontyres.co.uk by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.

 

Shock Absorbers- Nissan Micra – MOT Test-Failure if they are Worn and Leaking

Shock Absorbers

Leaking shock absorbers are an MOT test fail

The most frustrating thing about shock absorbers and struts, (which are basically the same thing) is that they are sealed units and although they are classed as maintenance free, they will

Shock Absorbers

A Nissa McPherson strut unit, the shock absorber part (strut) is fitted inside the spring .

very often start to leak. In some countries shock absorbers are known as dampers, because that is exactly what they do they damp down and level out the bumps that your car is picking

shock absorbers

Nissan Micra in for a new shock absorber

up as it drives along the road.

Depending what the model of your car is, then the shock absorbers should be changed at certain mileage intervals,

If you are not sure what this is then you can perform a simple bounce test. All you have to do is to press the corner of your car a few times with your body weight and then stop the bouncing. Once you stop then your car should settle back down straight away, if it bounces again more than twice then the shockers require changing. You do this procedure on each corner, bouncing the car and then releasing it.

In my opinion this is not a very satisfactory way of checking your shock absorbers, but at the moment I have not seen a satisfactory machine that will do the job. The best machine that I ever saw and consequently bought was a tester that was sold by SUN equipment. You drove the car onto vibration plates, which shook the cars suspension very violently and then suddenly stopped. The action of the shock absorbers was then recorded on to paper printouts via an ink needle, similar to the ones used in hospital heart machines. If the pattern was tight then the shocks were good, if they were wide, then the shocks needed replacing.

This was a great machine because it produced a print out so that the customer could see the state that his shocks were in. ironically the machine was scrapped by Kwik-Fit after I sold them the business and I don’t think that they are made any more.

How do Shock Absorbers work?

Some cars never have their shocks replaced, but with age the ride of your car will get bouncier and the cars steering will be all over the place when cornering, although this is sometimes

Shock Absorbers

Micra McPherson strut sowing the oil leak (dark part)

blamed on the cars tyres it is more often than not the shocks that need changing.

As I have said earlier, the most common problem is the fact that they leak oil. If this is the case then they will need changing. Any kind of shock absorber works on the same basis. There is a piston rod that enters a chamber that is filled with oil. The piston has oil seals to prevent leakage. As the piston is compressed by the weight then it takes the force of the road surface and the car. Your shocks take all the up and down pressure (bumps) and the cars chassis remains level, or as level as possible whilst driving along.

When the shocks are worn or broken then you will get an uneven ride in your car. I think that the worse culprits of this are on cars that are used as Taxis. You can often feel the older cars bouncing up and down as you drive along, and apart from alcohol, I am convinced that this is one of the reasons that people are sick in the back of a Taxi.

Struts are normally fitted at the front of cars and are fitted inside a coil spring unit.

These are known as McPherson struts and just like the shock absorbers, they can leak oil. These struts along with the springs that they are inserted into can very often break, and the symptoms  are rattling and banging noises coming from the car when going over bumps in the road, This is another problem that the potholes can cause. “Broken springs

An old perennial that keeps cropping up is that when a shocker has to be replaced then should they be replaced in pairs. In my opinion this is a grey area, the manufacturers always recommend that you fit two, and I think that this is the perfect scenario, but in practice the customer wants to get away with having to spend as little as possible and in general only has the one fitted. The rule to this is simple, if your car is relatively new, then just change the one, the one on the other side should still be good, but if the car is an older model then you should change the shocks on each side of the same axle, backs or fronts. This will give you an even ride and more stable cornering.

Normal shocks are fairly easy to change for the home mechanic

But the struts are more difficult and require some special tools, such as spring compressors and so I would take your car to a local garage, for the work doing.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts.

Eric Roberts

 

Starter Motor on my Jeep made a loud Clunking Noise

Starter Motor

Suspected starter motor

A few week ago now, a guy came into my garage and asked us to fit him a new battery. We always test the old battery, unless the customer tells us the old one is completely dead. This guy Starter Motorhad a Jeep and we said that the battery had been slow to start the car for about a month now and he thought that it was going to let him down completely. He worked in Manchester about 30 mile away from Halifax here in Yorkshire and so did not want to risk expensive breakdown chargers. We fitted a new battery and the guy went away happy. After about a month the guy turned back up again.

He said that the problem appeared to be cured after the new car battery was fitted, but recently he had started to hear a low level clunking noise coming from the engine when he started the car. He said that it was the old problem that was occurring and could the battery be faulty?

This also happens with a faulty alternator.

The first thing that the customer does is to buy a new battery, then a few weeks later , the car still has starting problems because the alternator has been under-charging or over-charging. Eventually the car has to have a replacement alternator. It is the same with the starter motor, although the starter is not as common a fault as the alternator, at least not here in Halifax.

Our top mechanic Ryan went out to check the car out and found the clunk was indeed coming from the starter motor when starting the car. There are a few things that you need to know

about diagnosing this problem. The main one is when you try to start the car, (and this applies to all cars and vans, in fact any vehicle that is fitted with a starter motor, will have similar symptoms) you turn the key to turn the engine over, but nothing happens, the engine will turn over. This is what would have eventually happened to the Jeep.

Also when you try to turn over the engine you hear a loud click.

In this case the car’s engine will still not turn over. This scenario is also the same as a dead flat battery, but I am presuming that the cars have had a new one fitted, prior to the starter clicking again. This can go on for a little while and sometimes the car will eventually start. The starter engages with the vehicles flywheel and turns over the engine until the car starts, and sometimes it is the starters gear teeth that are broken. But if you are lucky enough the hit the starter key at the right time, then the car may just start.

Back in the olden days cars with inline engines would have a cranking handle. So that you could turn over the engine, by hand (if you were strong enough). However cars started to come out with front wheel drive engines and the cranking handle became obsolete.

Our Jeep needed a new starter motor

Ryan very quickly diagnosed that the starter motor needed replacing, and after giving the gut a price for the job, Ryan began the difficult job of removing the old motor. Years ago the starters were easy to find and replace, but the advent of the computer designed cars, the manufacturers can squeeze parts onto an engine where

jeep, starter motor, and battery

New and old Jeep starters side by side

they previously could not. This Jeep was no exception and the starter was tucked away in nowhere land and very difficult to remove, right up the back of the engine, certainly not a job for the DIY car repairer, on his back on the drive at home.

The new part arrived and was fitted back in the engine by Ryan. The problem was that the teeth on the old motor were worn away, and were not connecting with the flywheel. Sometimes we find that there is an electrical fault, but not in this case. The old starter was sent back to the supplier and then returned to the company that will recondition the starter to repeat the cycle again when the next Jeep start motor goes wrong.

We normally carry out the following tests to ascertain whether or not a new starter motor  is required.

A- We always test the battery first. This is by using a simple multi-meter test.

B- We will check that the starter motor is getting 12 Volts on to its Battery Circuit.

C- We always check that the starter motor is receiving the electrical current from the ignition switch.

D- We carry out a voltage drop test on the starter battery and ground Circuits. We do this using a 12 volt battery and a connecting wire to test whether or not the starter is engaging or not. We test this in a vice on the bench.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles.

Eric Roberts

Turbocharger-What Does It Do?- A look Into the use of the Turbocharger

Turbocharger

First turbocharger

I am sadly old enough to remember when the mention of the word “Turbocharger”it was something special. The first production cars to be fitted with turbos (as I am going to abbreviate them) was in the USA, back in 1962, when the Oldsmobile Jet-fire and the Chevrolet Corsair cars were fitted out with the first production car exhaust turbo. These cars did have a few teething problems such as engine knocking, but this was corrected with a few modifications.

One of the next important developments for the turbo came in 1973, with the beginning of the oil crisis. The diesel engines of the time were expensive enough, but the addition of the

turbocharger

Turbocharger almost hidden away

turbo to these engines made them even more expensive. However the fuel crises and the expensive cost of fuel made the turbo driven engines more cost effective because of the fuel savings.

The next chapter was in the 1980’s when governments started to issue legislation to restrict fuel pollution in the new cars that were produced at that time and this was the beginning of almost all the cars produced, having a turbocharger fitted. In fact this is about the same time that diesel driven engine cars became more popular to make for the car manufacturers. The turbo diesel engines were giving a high performance with much lower fuel consumption.

This trend was started off in Germany, in the late seventies and early eighties, when Mercedes Benz and VW started producing production cars that were fitted with a Turbocharger and a turbo charged diesel engines the Mercedes 300 SD and the VW Golf Turbo Diesel models.

The turbocharger into the 90’s and beyond

The main emphasis of the Auto manufacturers was now to drive down the amount of emission’s that the cars were producing. Governments all over the world were throwing huge amounts of money at the problem in order to drive down the carbon gases that cars were producing. The turbo charged engines certainly helped to fulfill this achievement. The advantages of the Turbocharger were that the engines could have a high performance, whilst at the same time be produced with a lower CC, engines were made smaller with more power.

The engines could be made smaller with higher torques and lower speed ranges at the same time. The engines would also become less noisy, we all remember the terrible sounds that would come out of a turbo less engine, and we needed ear plugs to drive some of the early diesel engine vans. The biggest gain though was the fuel consumption. The early diesel engines used to eat fuel, but with the addition of the Turbocharger , the fuel consumption lowered dramatically, cars can now get as much as 80 mile to the gallon, with other added improvements, that are happening all the time.

Our customers know very little about the turbocharger that is on their car.

The Turbocharger can be very complicated to explain, but I will attempt to put it in simple terms, that is the only way I can understand it myself anyway. The basic design mechanism of the

Turbocharger

How a Turbocharger works

turbo works in a very similar way the jet engine. The jet engine draws in air from the front, compressors the air into a chamber where it burns with fuel. It them blasts the hot air out of the back. The hot air then drives past a turbine , which in turn drives the air pump at the front of the engine. At this stage the heated compressed air is pushed into the car’s engine to make the fuel burn more efficiently. The cars turbo is very much like a small car engine, it uses the expelled exhaust gases that are produced in an engine to drive a turbine, this spins the compressor, which pushes more air/oxygen into the cars cylinders  which, allowing more fuel to be burned  each second. This is why a Turbocharger can produce more fuel efficient energy per second.

Theoretically Turbocharger care, by the car owner is only down to general care and servicing of their car.

Clean oil is very important and indeed one of the main problems with turbo care is when dirty oil is sucked into the turbos lubrication system. It is also a good idea to make sure that your engine warms up slowly on a cold morning. The cold thickens the viscosity of the oil which could starve the Turbocharger of oil, but with all the different oils that are used now, then I am not sure that this applies any more.

It is certainly a wise thing to make sure that your vehicle has the correct type of oil and that you top the engine up with the same type of oil as used in an oil change. If you are not sure, have your car serviced by a garage of your choice, it is not worth the risk, some turbos are well over £1000 each, and you can’t do without one.

Hope this helps.

Eric Roberts

  Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts..

Flexi Exhaust Pipe-Astra VXR can it be Repaired? We can sometimes save the customers there Money.

Flexi Exhaust Pipe

A Flexi Exhaust Pipe can get you out of trouble?

Over the past 15 years we have seen a massive change in the way that car manufacturers have changed the way that exhaust systems have changed. In the early days we used to keep

Flexi Exhaust Pipe

Astra VXR in for a noisy exhaust system! Flexi Exhaust Pipe to the rescue

huge stocks of exhaust parts( including Flexi Exhaust Pipe) in stock to service our customer’s cars.

There were many different exhaust manufacturers around at the time supply the aftermarket with mild steel replacement exhaust systems. Some were good quality and some were bad quality. At the time we would guarantee these mild steel systems for one year and they did not last much longer than that. At the time I was a great fan of the Unipart exhaust, because they were perhaps the best fitting exhaust system on the Mini’s which were very popular at the time.

We found though that the worst problem apart from half of them did not fit correctly, was the welding. We had to balance the cost of these exhausts with the quality of the fit and the welding. The cheaper exhausts were welded by hand, and were awful quality. We would have many comebacks from faulty badly made exhausts. Some of these companies are now long gone, but the ones who have stuck it out are the better quality systems. These companies such as Bosal, went into aluminising their exhausts to make them last longer and gave them a two year warranty.

However they would still rot from the inside due to the mild sulfuric acid that was emitted from the engines of these cars.

Catalytic Converters became the new influence with better quality exhaust pipes.

Then along came the big revolution, for the humble exhaust pipe, the emissions test. The new greener car engines started to come out with catalytic converters. This was to control the

Flexi Exhaust Pipe

Catalytic converters complete with its own Flexi Exhaust Pipe used to come boxed up like this one

pollutants that were entering the atmosphere from the car’s engine. The cats were made from a honeycomb of ceramics and the catalysts that are used are made from precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium.

It is my opinion that was because of the improved status of the exhaust system including the catalytic converter that the whole unit would have to be made better and therefor would last

Flexi Exhaust Pipe

Astra VXR with a new Flexi Exhaust Pipe welded on to his existing exhaust system

much longer. In the early days of catalysts, companies set up making up the replacement cats with imported universal units from America, so if your cat went for any reason then the cheapest way to replace it would be to make one up in a kit form including a Flexi Exhaust Pipe and weld it to the old exhaust pipe.

As time went on and the emission laws became stricter, then the cats became more complicated, some having two lambda sensors fitted and Flexi Exhaust Pipe which were also becoming an integral part of the exhaust system. It is not uncommon to find some cars with two cats on the same piece of exhaust system.

This is where our Astra VXR Flexi Exhaust Pipe comes into the equation.

 

The more complicated the car and engine then the more complicated the exhaust system will be. Some cars even have exhausts fitted that are more complicated to get at physically. They weave and bend into the most complicated places that you can think of.

Some of the cat/exhaust combinations can cost as much as half the value of the car in some cases and when we told this VXR owner that the replacement system for his car would be well over  £1000 he nearly fell through the floor?

Fortunately we have a guy working for us who can see his way round these things and Ryan came up with a great solution. He suggested welding a new flexi pipe onto where the break in the exhaust pipe was. This would save the customer hundreds of £’s just coming up to Christmas. All we had to do was to check and see if the exhaust was thick and strong enough to take a weld, and it was.

Ryan measured up the flexi-pipe where it was to be fitted and welded the new part onto the existing exhaust. The guy could not afford the £1000 in the first place and so we were all happy. We can confidently give the guy a guarantee on the job and he went away another happy customer.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and Exhaust  System Repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts.

Eric Roberts

Michelin Zero Pressure Tyres-Run-Flat tyres will get you out of Trouble in an Emergency

Michelin Zero Pressure Tyres

For high standard of equipment and In all fairness Michelin are not the only company to make a run-flat product. Most tyre companies including some budget tyre brands make a run-flat tyre.

Michelin’s call their tyre the ZP or Michelin Zero Pressure.

This of course refers to the fact that when the run-flat tyre deflates, it will carry on running with zero air in the tyre. This is exactly what the run-flat does. Because of the much stronger

Michelin Zero Pressure

Michelin run-flat tyres

side walls the tyre will not deviate from its course. The driver is warned about the deflation from inside the car by the TPMS system (tyre pressure monitoring system).

Let’s face it our roads are probably the busiest in Europe and nobody enjoys having to change a wheel at the side of the road, in fact they now warn us to stay well away from the car, at the top of the embankment, while the recovery truck turns up, because of the many accidents caused by broken down vehicles being hit from behind by other vehicles who lose concentration and smash into them.

With the Michelin Zero Pressure run-flat technology fitted to your car this will be avoided. These tyres will lose pressure from a nail or a screw penetration but your car will keep a straight line and you will be able to drive home, albeit at the reduced speed of 50 mph, but the tyre will let you travel 50 mile which should be enough to get you out of trouble and have the tyre changed

Michelin Zero Pressure Tyres-Can you mix run-flat tyres with normal radial tyres?

Michelin recommend that you should never mix a Michelin Zero Pressure run-flat with a non-run-flat normal radial tyres. The only exception to this rule is if you were stranded in the middle of nowhere and the only tyre depot for miles around could only get you a normal tyre then this would be acceptable as a last resort, get you home step and the tyre must be changed back to a run-flat as soon as possible.

The Michelin Zero Pressure run-flats have completely different sidewalls; they are made of much thicker materials and are known as “Self-supporting tyres” or SST’s. They have two other identification markings on the sidewalls.
1: ZP allows you to drive at 50 mph for speeds up 50 mph (most of the M1 motorway at the moment)
2: ZP SR allows you to drive for 20 miles at 50 mph

Michelin Zero Pressure offer the same ride capabilities as a normal radial tyre

The first time I drove a BMW Mini that was equipped with run-flat tyres I thought I was in an old truck going down a cobble road. The ride was horrendous, and my staff, who regularly test drive cars say that this is a common thing, the ride is very hard, because the sidewalls are so thick and re-enforced. Michelin claim that their Zero pressure tyres are not the same and give just as good a ride as their normal radial tyre range.

Although I have not tried out as car fitted with Michelin Zero Pressure, this has got to be a step in the right direction and I will try out these tyres as soon as possible to quantify their claims.
However some fleet companies are now looking at the Michelin Zero Pressure, because of the more comfortable ride and also improved fuel consumption. These tyres have been tested by fleet company Alphabet’s Operational Services Manager, Andy Williams,
He explained: “The comfort compromise everyone used to associate with run-flats has disappeared with the latest technology of tyres.

I have tried Michelin’s new Zero Pressure (ZP) range

Trust me, you can’t tell the difference from standard tyres. Yes, there have been critics of run-flat tyres in the past, but Michelin has answered all of them. It is high time fleet managers start to embrace the new technology as it has so much to offer.

The combination of a smooth ride and the increased safety is something they just can’t afford to ignore. The fact Michelin Zero Pressurethat a tyre keeps its shape when it loses pressure could be life-saving in the event of a tyre blow-out.”
As I have stated earlier this means that the fleet car user can now safely drive the vehicle to a tyre centre or garage and have the tyre replaced.

This will help to reduce down time caused in the past by the driver calling out the emergency services because they are not able to change the wheel themselves, or the car is stranded in a dangerous place.

For the private drivers who are fitted out with run-flat tyres it would be well worth trying out these new Michelin Zero Pressure, because of the better and less harsh ride, that is associated with the other run-flat makes of tyres.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell Michelin Zero Pressure Online .

Eric Roberts

NTDA Want Part Worn Tyres Banned

Am I getting soft on Part Worn Tyres? 22% of British Drivers Now Using Them-should we be worried?

Part Worn Tyres

 These are very alarming figures 22%, almost a quarter of the driving public are buying these part worn tyres

But I am now thinking differently about the problem. In my opinion the Part Worn Tyres market has increased due to the financial crisis and a lot of young families are having to make

part worn tyres

This tyre came from a car recently and was bought as a part worn tyre. the so called repair in the tyre only lasted 2 weeks before failing. The lady bought this tyre with good intent, not knowing that it was indeed rubbish.

huge economic changes in their household budgets, but they regard their car as sanctity, a necessity, they will keep it running at whatever cost, even if it means running the car without insurance or road tax.

This is also where part worn tyres come into it. If it means keeping the car running then they will pay say £20 for a part worn tyre, I do not think that they care about its condition, all I can say is that they must trust the person that they are buying from, as long as it gets them about and they can keep their car running.

It is the tyre industry that should make sure that the tyres that these people are using are in fact safe to use and come under the Part Worn Tyres law (Under The Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994 (reg.7.) part of the Consumer Protection Act) that we have here in the UK and probably other countries too.

17% of drivers would also keep buying part worn tyres.

In my opinion the economic crisis has hit us all to the extent that we will probably never recover again. The retail market place has changed considerably over the past years, with consumers having to make huge cuts in their spending habits. This includes everybody, and I have to admit that includes my family. We are changing our shopping habits and the companies that are making changes to cope with the lack of consumer spending are becoming the winners.

Starting at the top of the chain, families are now shopping on a daily or twice weekly basis. Here in the UK the winners are becoming the smaller chains such as Lidl and Aldi, who are pushing the huge supermarket customers into second place, primarily because of the changing shopping habits of the consumers. We also having the cheaper clothing retailers who are doing well in this climate, stores such as Primark are sweeping the floor with much cheaper clothing than the high street stores, who are suffering from the general downsizing of the consumers.

In my opinion this is also the same problem that is affecting the tyre market at the moment.

Drivers at the lower end of the economic scale are forced to buy part worn tyres to keep their cars on the road. According to the recent survey 17% of these drivers would also consider a repeat purchase of part worn tyres, which could mean that these people are taken out of the new car tyre market altogether. There has always been a slice of the tyre market that have bought second hand tyres, but this time the increase is quiet significant and is effecting many of the smaller tyre retailers up and down the country.

Fighting back with cheap budget tyres

One of the knock on effects of this gap in the market place is the price deflation of the budget tyre brands. My own business has seen a Sharpe increase in the cheap new tyre market. The manufacturers that are suffering are the mid-range tyre market and the leading companies appear to be holding their own, we are still getting our customers asking for their favorite brands. These are usually the older drivers that are known as the “Silvers” and that include me?

These are the drivers that will stick to Michelin and Dunlop and can still afford to pay the price for them.

I am only forming my opinion on the facts that are affecting my tyre business here in Halifax Yorkshire UK. But asking about and traveling around has opened my eyes to the number of part worn tyre bucket shops that have opened up in the last few years has quadrupled. The increase in these operations has opened my eyes to the extent of our industry wide problem. We seem to be more at the battle front in the poorer northern towns, especially the ones with a large immigrant population, such as Halifax.

Part worn tyres are also affecting the large companies

This problem probably multiplies the more depots that you own , so the huge tyre companies such as kwik-Fit must be pulling their hair out, in fact This recent survey was financed by Kwik-Fit and its findings were released to the rest of the industry. Roger Griggs of Kwik-Fit said…

“This research highlights the problems that British drivers have experienced with part worn tyres. Many of the second hand tyres sold in the UK are brought in from Europe by the container-load, having been taken off cars across the Channel. Motorists considering a part worn tyre should perhaps ask why a tyre that is no longer good enough for a Dutch, German or Danish driver would be good enough for them.

‘We recognise that drivers are keen to keep their motoring costs low, and we work hard to provide products and services to help them do that. There comes a point where cutting costs can compromise safety and this is especially true with tyres. After all, these are the only thing connecting a car with the road, so we urge drivers to consider whether they really need to opt for the unknown quality of second hand tyres.”

My problem with part worn tyres is the number that are found failing due to the damage that was already present

Of course, when the tyres were fitted to the new customers car. This is due to the fact that tyres that are sold are not sold legally. Here in the UK we have a set of rules that states that part worn tyres should be tested for any faults or damage or objects in the tyres and the tyre s should be checked whilst under pressure. Then after the tyre is checked and found to OK, then a special patch should be stuck (vulcanized) to the tyre with the name of the company or tester displayed on the tyre.

I now know that the effect of part worn tyres on the businesses of reputable tyre retailers

Having forced them to start selling these part worn tyres themselves and in a way I cannot blame them. One guy that I know has set up a separate small depot specifically for selling these tyres. He has kept the two companies separate for obvious reasons, but at least he is now clawing some of the lost business back and he is also running the operation within the current part worn tyre laws.

I can now understand better the predicament that many people find themselves in. Forced by financial circumstances, to buy these second hand tyres. So, thinking that we have all been affected by this crisis and will be for some time to come.

Now believing that they is a place for part worn tyres, but they must be bought and sold within the law and we must get rid of these people who sell all the rubbish and dangerous tyres, by strengthening the current laws and more importantly, to clamp down on these dodgy tyre businesses that sell this rubbish through stronger law enforcement.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts.

Eric Roberts

Rover Street Wise- with a Timing Belt Problem.

I must admit that when I heard about a Rover Street Wise car in to us with an engine problem,

I could not remember what one looked like? The car is a beefed up version of the Rover 25, but in my opinion the car is far better looking and I think that it made the car more appealing to younger drivers. The owner of this car is only in his mid- twenties, so I may be right.

When the car arrived it was 1.4 petrol driven 2003 model, and the engine appeared to be locked out. The Rover Street Wise differed from the Rover 25, because the car some additional body panels fitted and a raised height. The car was said at the time to look a little outdated, but to the trade’s surprise, the car took off and sold well. To some people the car was a tough little car and it looked the part too.

The Rover Street Wise was built from 2003 to 2005, when the last one rolled off the assembly line at the Longbridge Plant. Over the life of the cars, known faults have reared there ugly heads, including a faulty Security Control Unit (SCU). This fault comes in all sorts of forms from, the horn not working or another small electrical item such as the electric windows not

rover street wise

Timing belt just visible

working, to bigger problems, with the central locking, alarm and immobilisers knocked the car out of commission. If you had such a problem then you were not able to drive the car at all.

Dealers were rubbing their hands, charging anything from £700 to £1000 for a new SCU fitting. However the car that we had in was another problem. The owner of the car had lent it to his friend for the day. The friend went shopping and when he got back to the and tried to start it, he heard a loud bang and the engine acted as though it was dead, in fact the engine had locked.

Rover Street Wise engine had locked?

This can happen when a car runs out of engine oil, but with this car this was not the case. The AA brought the car to my garage here in Halifax in the UK and Ryan took a look, to see what he could find wrong with the car. The car owner was not one of our regular customers and it turned out that he had previously had a timing belt fitted at the garage where he normally goes.

Suspecting that this might be the seat of the problem we started to take a look at the timing belt area. There was the problem, the engine had locked because the timing tension-er had come loose and the timing belt had jumped three cogs. This had caused the valves on the engine to close. The exhaust valve closed and so would not release the gases or the pressure and so the engine would not turn and was locked.

The Rover Street Wise owner was very lucky that the valves did not cause any damage to the cylinder head itself as is the usual scenario when a timing belt slips or breaks, it normally makes a mess of the engine and can be very costly, that is why you must replace the timing belt at the times designated by the car manufacturers, and if possible with Rover Street Wise genuine Parts. The guy was very lucky indeed.

The Rover Street Wise owner gave us permission to carry out any work that was required, and he would try to claim off the garage that did the original job, a couple of weeks before.

 Rover Street Wise

Timing markings done in tip-ex marker to align the cogs teeth on the Rover Street Wise

Ryan began the work by removing the other two auxiliary belts (fan belts) and then supported the engine before removing the engine mounting.

He removed the timing belt cover and then marked the sprockets with white tip-ex

to mark where the original setting was to assess how far one of the cams was out of alignment due to the timing belt previously skipping some cogs. He then consulted the auto-data computer program to find he correct settings for this type of engine. Ryan them proceeded to mark-up the correct setting  using a ruler to make sure that the cogs were straight and marking the cogs in the correct position.

Ryan then built the parts back up and the engine then run fine. This is what I enjoy most about owning a garage, the fact that we just do not know what we might get in next. The owner picked up his and his friend was very relieved because he thought that he had blown up his friend’s engine.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell Rover Cars Tyres online from our website www.pellontyres.co.uk by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.

Vauxhall Corsa- Fails MOT Test- Because of Worn Out Front Suspension.

vauxhall corsa

New Lambda sensor fitted after the emissions test failure.

The Vauxhall Corsa is indeed a very popular little car,

Especially with female drivers. The little car also makes a good city car, with very little problem when getting around town and parking. The Corsa is well known for its light steering;

vauxhall corsa

Vauxhall Corsa for Mot repairs

(power steering) which makes the little car easy to maneuver and along with its good rear end visibility makes the car easy to park and is a favorite with the lady drivers.

The car was launched by Vauxhall in 1993 and has proved to be a very successful model for the giant car company. The car has also remained cheap to buy, both new and second hand. We recently purchased a Vauxhall  Corsa from one of our lady customers, to be used as one of our courtesy cars, and it has proven to be a little gem and popular with our lady drivers, who use the car when leaving their own car for servicing or repairs.

The Corsa has a few drawbacks; it is not for the taller person and the car is very cramped when driving with four adults, (two fronts and two rears), they are also not very suitable for the out of town open road driving. They are noisy due to road and engine noise and they do not corner very well, especially with a full car of adults.

However despite this the little super mini is very popular amongst younger people, as this is the first car than many first time drivers can usually afford , Corsa’s can be found at bargain prices and as I have said earlier the lady drivers love to drive them around town and they are easy to park.

The running costs of these little cars are one of its assets, the little 1.0litre cars can do as many as 50 mpg and the diesel versions can come up figures of 60 mpg, making the car a good

vauxhall corsa

Vauxhall Corsa new and old broken spring

choice for the economically minded driver. The insurance is also very low, most normal sized engine cars come into the lowest insurance groups possible. The Corsa is also cheap to service, making the car as I have said earlier cheap and economical to run, favouring the money conscious lady drivers and the young first time car buyers.

Vauxhall Corsa cars have had several factory recalls

These little cars are usually trouble free when it comes mechanical problems apart from the usual wear and tear items such as tyres, exhausts and suspension and brake parts, but there has been a few recall problems with cars between 2000 and 2006.

The following problems included, air bag problem due to faulty software, faulty seat adjustment catches and spring, causing the seat to move or not lock, steering wheel problems, the centre nut that holds the steering wheel in place was not tightened correctly causing the steering  wheel to wobble. The early Corsa had also cam-belt problems, they should be changed every 40,000 miles promptly, or a damaged engine could follow,

One of our long standing lady customers dropped off her carfor a service and an MOT test. She said that the car was in excellent condition and should walk the test. Dale Linton tested the car and found that all sorts of things were wrong. The steering and suspension had lots of play in them, the car also had a broken spring and also failed the emissions test.

We always phone our customers before working on their car and we always save the old parts for them to look at.

The Vauxhall Corsa required new front control arms (known as wishbones to some people) a new spring and a new lambda sensor. The lady said that she could hear some knocking coming from the front of the Vauxhall Corsa when she drove over speed bumps, but did not think much about it. She gave us permission to complete the work and new control arms were fitted. We know that you can

vauxhall corsa

Vauxhall Corsa new and old worn out front control arms before refitting

fit new control arm bushes, but this takes much longer and by the time you have removed the old bushes and fitted new ones, we can fit a complete new arm. The costs work out about the same because of the labour factor.

We fitted a new lambda sensor and a new spring before re-testing the Vauxhall Corsa and then servicing it. The car is now a far better ride than when she brought it in and the lady customer noticed this and thanked us for our great service.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and car steering repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell tyres online from our website www.pellontyres.co.uk  by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.

Winter Tyres-Could fitting them Affect Your Car Insurance?

I always find it strange to hear my customers say “will my car be insured if I fit winter tyres”. I used to think that they were joking at first, but for some reason, they were very serious, apparently it was something that they had read in a national newspaper. When I checked this out, it said that if you modify or change your car from the original specs, then you should

winter tyres, insurance

Kumho winter tyres are very popular.

inform your insurance company, or you could not be insured in case that you had an accident. I suspect that this covers thousands of motorists driving about today, “with what they would consider minor adjustments” to their cars, such as fitting winter tyres, or a “go faster stripe “down the side.

There is no doubt that winter tyres do affect your cars performance, but only for the better by making the car drive with better control and brake better in winter weather from rain to ice and snow. As long as you sick to the same size and the advised load rating for your car, you should be fine and proud to fit the winter tyres.

Insurance companies should give you “discount” for fitting winter tyres

Even this year our customers have asked about the affect winter tyres can have on their insurance, so I thought that I would look into a little deeper and write an article about the subject. In my opinion I think that you should get a rebate from your insurance company if you make your car safer by fitting winters to it. In fact the big debate to me is “are cars with illegal part worn tyres insured” and the answer is NO, but I will look at that in a future article.

The problem has also become an issue with the insurers themselves after a deluge of inquiries from worried car owners, thinking that they would not be insured if they fitted these tyres to their car. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) the problem has been taken up with its members and now over 90% have agreed that they will not increase premiums for their customers that fit the correct winter tyres to their vehicles.

They also agreed that fitting winters to their car made for better road safety over the winter period, in fact many of the other European countries make it a law to fit winters between November and March of the following year, so why should the British motorists be penalized.

A statement from the ABI says; “often motor insurers will not charge an additional premium when their insured customers use winter tyres, provided that they meet, and are fitted in accordance with, the vehicle manufacturers’ specifications and are in a roadworthy condition”

If you are unsure about your own insurance company as regarding their stance on the matter, then you can either ring them up or go to the ABI website where insurers are listed, who comply with “good to fit winter tyres “ruling. The web address is… https://www.abi.org.uk/~/media/Files/Documents/Publications/Public/Migrated/Motor/ABI%20guide%20to%20winter%20tyres%20The%20motor%20insurance%20commitment.pdf

Winter tyres will not incur extra insurance costs

winter tyres

Scenes like this will soon be upon us,so prepare your car for the worse to come.

Have I have stated earlier in this article the insurance companies often increased the costs of your insurance if you modified your car in any way and did not inform them, things like an upgraded modified engine spring to mind. They regarded you as been more likely to have an accident, if you had modified your car and also your car may have become a bigger target to car thieves, so an extra premium would have been charged.

At first when winter tyres became more popular the insurance companies gave out mixed messages, but the ABI can now confirm that winter tyres are a safety issue and are a great improvement when fitted to your car through the winter period.

My own advice would be to inform your insurance company that you are fitting winter tyres. You will, not have to pay any extra premiums. Some companies do require you to inform than a list can be found on the ABI web-site. Nick Starling, ABI’s director of general insurance, said: “Insurers do not want to penalize motorists who take steps, like fitting winter tyres, to improve their safety on dangerous winter roads. Last year cold weather came early and there was some uncertainty for customers about the insurance implications of fitting winter tyres. This commitment clarifies the position for motorists.”

Always fit the same size or a size recommended by your tyre dealer if a direct replacement cannot be found. Good tyre retailers will have a web site for converting the sizes over legally and should be accepted by the insurance companies. Some insurance companies such as Tesco and The Co-operative insurance company state that you are alright to fit winters but you should not oversize them. Over sizing any tyres is not a good thing anyway?

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work

winter tyres

Pirelli make an excellent winter tyre.

and parts. We also sell Winter Tyres Online from our website www.pellontyres.co.uk by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.